Rotary expands toy reach again

In keeping with its “Service Above Self” motto, The Rotary Club of Farragut again is reaching out to give children a brighter holiday as its members collect toys for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and Boys and Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley in Knoxville.

“Typically, what we’ve always done is support the Boys and Girls Club,” said Scott Bertini, service projects chairman.

However, this is the second year to also collect toys for ETCH. Bertini noted last year, the club chose to collect toys for children admitted into the hospital during the holiday season.

“Basically, our club is collecting toys for those two organizations,” he added. “Then we do a big delivery of all those toys to those organizations. With the Boys and Girls Club, those (toys) go to the families to be able to ‘shop’ for those toys,”

Bertini noted the families do not actually pay for those toys. The parents simply select what they want for their children.

This year’s goal is at least 100 toys for that organization. Their delivery date is slated for Friday, Dec. 10.

At ETCH, Santa comes by the children’s rooms on Christmas Day and leaves the children a sack full of toys.

“So even if they’re in the hospital, Santa will still come and visit them,” Bertini said. “And, any surplus of toys gets used throughout the remainder of the year (such as) birthdays to help children get through surgeries or anything like that.

“The majority of the toys at the hospital can’t be reused because of infection protocol, so we do a great service to try to help out those organizations,” he added.

Bertini said he expects the ETCH delivery will be the second week of December. Last year’s goal was 152 toys for ETCH, which is how many beds they have, but Bertini said RCF collected more than 300 toys.

This year, he is hoping to have at least 152 toys but “we would like to surpass what we did last year.

“Whatever we can provide for them will be gratefully accepted,” Bertini added.

The public is invited to donate through an Amazon link. For more information and to receive the link, call Bertini at 865-898-4421.